A Black Fresco Fragment

Adam Tabeling
Adam Tabeling is a 4th-year graduate student in the Department of Classics, whose research focuses on Greek and Roman iconography, Roman relief sculpture, and politics and propaganda in Roman art. He is currently writing his dissertation on imperial images of Virtus, the Roman goddess of manliness, courage and martial valor, and her militaristic relationship with the Roman emperor.


  • Accession Number: JHUAM 991
  • Measurements: Length: 18cm, Width:16cm
  • Material: Pigment, plaster
  • Culture/Date: Roman, 1st c. CE
  • Provenance: Unknown


The midnight-black background of this fresco fragment emphasizes, the silver candelabrum in the foreground, by means of contrast.  The center of the candelabrum is ornamented with a horizontal base that blossoms from the center like a flowering acanthus plant with curling leaves.  This motif most likely framed a larger composition, perhaps one similar to the “Black Room” from the Villa of Agrippa Postumus at Boscotrecase (Metropolitan Museum of Art), in which candelabra present the illusion of illuminating the darkness of the room.

Other Object Stories

More about A Black Fresco Fragment